Saturday, January 10, 2009

Five of the Most Ludicrous Statements Ever Made!

1. To me, the game came down to Oklahoma's inability to score in the red zone. Oklahoma moved the ball fairly well (they had 25 first downs) and ended up averaging over five yards per play. It isn't as if Florida completely shut the Sooners down, but the Gators did make two incredibly timely stops in the first half inside the Oklahoma five to keep the game at 7-7. If the Sooners score touchdowns on those two possessions and lead 21-7 at the half, then Florida has to become more pass-centric in the second half instead of taking the run-heavy approach that was so successful in the last 30 minutes. What's most interesting to me about Florida's success defending in the red zone is that Oklahoma was ludicrously effective all year at scoring touchdowns when they got inside the 20. Is this an illustration of good scheming by Charlie Strong? A testament to the maxim that anything can happen when two teams play a one-game playoff after a one-month hiatus? I'm not pretending to have an answer to the question.

2. Has any position group ever come so far in one year like the Florida defensive backs did this year? In 2007, Florida had an abysmal pass defense. In their bowl game, the defensive backs were torched repeatedly by a Michigan team that had piled up a grand total of 91 yards against Ohio State in its last regular season game. Fast forward one year and you have the Gators' DBs putting forth an epic effort against the Heisman winning quarterback and and offense that was averaging 35 points in the first half of its games this year. Florida played a lot of man coverage and left Sam Bradford trying to put the ball into tight spaces for the first time this year. (I was more impressed by Bradford in this game than I was all season because he made accurate throws despite seeing a proper defense, a novel concept for Oklahoma.) Ahmad Black's interception was an epic play, but it was one of a series of excellent efforts from Florida's corners and safeties. Tim Tebow was substandard in the first half, but the Gator defense kept the team in the game. The 2007 Gators would have been out of the game at halftime.

2a. Between the national title game, the disaster that was the 2008 Michigan defense because of inept safety play, and the fact that the two best defenses in the NFL (Pittsburgh and Baltimore) are keyed by safeties (Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed), this has been the year of Michael learning the importance of good safety play.

3. Co-sign on the universal opinion in the blogopshere that Fox's coverage of the game was wretched. I watched large portions of the game on mute because of Thom Brennaman's excessive hyperbole regarding Tim Tebow. It's as if he decided that he would one-up Kirk Herbstreit and Gary Danielson in terms of love for the Florida quarterback. After all, Fox has always been noted for taking things to the extreme. Before I muted Brennaman, he was reminding me of Dave O'Brien's ham-handed attempts to call the 2006 World Cup for ESPN: a neophyte trying to call a big game after never having covered the teams before.

4. How much would we have loved to see a Florida-USC match-up this year? What sort of odds would we get that we'll see a Florida-USC national title game in the next five years (assuming that Meyer and Carroll stay put). How many "let's return to the old bowl structure" advocates are going to acknowledge that they would prevent any chance of seeing the two pre-eminent programs in the country face off?

5. In case you're keeping track, the SEC is now 5-0 in BCS Championship games. This will come into play in poll debates in the coming years.

1 comment:

TJ said...

As a Gator fan, I agree with you about Bradford. He really impressed me. In fact, my opinion of him rose after that game, and I don't really understand all the one-liners I've read this week about his disappointing/bad/choking game.

Using "he threw two picks" as evidence is particularly lazy. That second interception was well thrown, led the receiver, and hit him in the hands. Then the safety made a completely ridiculous play that changed the game. Can't put that on Bradford.